Tuesday 17 November 2020

Musical Chain: Baltic Sea Philharmonic's innovative video response to lockdown

Anyone who has read my recent interview with conductor Kristjan Järvi will not be surprised to find that the conductor's response to lockdown with his orchestra the Baltic Sea Philharmonic was never going to be straightforward.

The orchestra has released the first in a series of videos in which classics from the repertoire are recorded by the orchestra's musicians in their home studio and then remixed by Kristjan Järvi, interwoven with elements of electronic music to create dense sound textures and finally produced, along with videos created by professionally editing the orchestral musicians films of themselves.

The project arose because during lockdown earlier this year the orchestra was due to tour Poland, Germany and Russia. Instead, they created a virtual orchestra involving musicians from all over Europe in a Musical Chain. The name Musical Chain being inspired by the human chains formed by people in the three Baltic States in August 1989. 

The project reflects the cross-border spirit of the orchestra and its commitment to using digital media to convey the energy, style and freedom of its live performances.  Kristjan Järvi comments: "The pandemic has put us in a situation where we have to get out of our everyday groove and comfort zone, out of our familiar structures, methods and routines. We have to create a completely new raison d'être for ourselves and ask ourselves why we do what we do. Physically we can't create the same energy in the same room, but we create a new way of bringing our energy and ideas to people around the world who are inspired by what we do and the way we make music."

Two videos have already been released, Beethoven’s Twilight [YouTube], based on Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Midnight Mood [YouTube], based on Grieg's Morning Mood. The next video in the series Ascending Swans, based on Sibelius'  Song of praise will be released on November 20, keep an eye on the orchestra's YouTube channel.

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